Taylor Hawkins: Foo Fighters drummer dies aged 50, band announces

Group led by Dave Grohl says members are ‘devastated’ and ‘musical spirit’ of Hawkins will live on

Taylor Hawkins, the long-time drummer for rock band Foo Fighters, has died at the age of 50, the band has announced.

“The Foo Fighters family is devastated by the tragic and untimely loss of our beloved Taylor Hawkins,” the band’s official account tweeted.

“His musical spirit and infectious laughter will live on with all of us forever.

“Our hearts go out to his wife, children and family, and we ask that their privacy be treated with the utmost respect in this unimaginably difficult time.” No cause of death has been announced.

pic.twitter.com/ffPHhUKRT4

— Foo Fighters (@foofighters) March 26, 2022

The Foo Fighters are on tour in South America and had been due to headline Festival Estereo Picnic in Bogotá, Colombia on Friday evening, 25 March.

The festival released a statement on Facebook confirming the band had pulled out of the three-day festival due to Hawkins’s death. “With a broken heart, we are here to let you know of very sad news due to a very serious medical situation the Foo Fighters cannot perform tonight and they have cancelled the rest of their South American tour.”

In a statement, the Bogotá municipal government said the city’s emergency centre received a report of a patient with “chest pain” and sent an ambulance on Friday evening.

Paramedics attempted to revive him but there was no response and Hawkins was declared dead at the hotel in northern Bogotá, the statement added.

Fans gathered in mourning outside the Bogotá hotel where the band had been staying, and where Hawkins was found dead.

After performing in Colombia, Foo Fighters had been scheduled to play at Lollapalooza Brasil in São Paulo on 26 March before continuing to tour in the United States.

Tributes have been flowing for Hawkins, who had drummed for 25 of Foo Fighters’ 28 years of existence after taking over from original drummer William Goldsmith in 1997.

Coldplay, performing in Monterrey, Mexico during their world tour, dedicated the song Everglow to Hawkins, with frontman Chris Martin calling him “a beautiful, beautiful man”. Miley Cyrus said the next concert on her tour was dedicated to Hawkins.

Blink-182 drummer Travis Barker wrote: “You’d come watch me play in dive bars and be like, ‘kid you’re a star’. And I thought you were crazy but you gave me so much hope and determination.”

Rage Against the Machine’s Tom Morello hailed Hawkins’ “spirit and unstoppable rock power”, while Ozzy Osbourne said Hawkins was “truly a great person and an amazing musician”.

Liam Gallagher tweeted: “Absolutely devastated to hear the sad news about Taylor Hawkins my thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends RIP brother LG x.”

Describing Hawkins as the “coolest dude ever”, the rapper Questlove tweeted: “I’m so sad about this man … god bless & comfort his family, his bandmates, his friends & all his loved ones. Taylor Hawkins. Rest In Beats. #TaylorHawkins.”

Rolling Stones singer Sir Mick Jagger also paid tribute, saying on Twitter: “So incredibly sad to hear of the passing of Taylor Hawkins. My thoughts are with his family and the band at this time.”
Duran Duran star Roger Taylor said Hawkins was one of the last true “rock star drummers of our time.”

Hawkins came from Laguna Beach, California and served as the touring drummer for Alanis Morissette at the height of her fame, before joining Foo Fighters after hearing their previous drummer had left. “I scrambled to get Dave’s number and called him,” Hawkins said last year. “I thought Alanis wanted to go in a more laid-back direction, and it seemed like the right time to jump. Alanis didn’t need me!”

Performing with Foo Fighters in May 2019.
Performing with Foo Fighters in May 2019. Photograph: RMV/REX/Shutterstock

He played on their eight studio albums since, beginning with There Is Nothing Left To Lose in 1999. The band’s sound evolved from the forthright hard rock of their first two albums into a more melodic, radio-friendly style, and their greatest mainstream success. Hawkins-assisted hits include Learn to Fly, Times Like These, The Pretender, All My Life and Best of You, and beginning with 2002’s One By One, all of Foo Fighters albums since have hit the US and UK Top Three.

Known as a highly endearing and energetic showman, Hawkins was probably the most prominent member of the group after founder and frontman Dave Grohl, regularly appearing alongside Grohl in interviews and playing roles in the band’s videos. He also starred in Foo Fighters’ recently released horror-comedy film Studio 666 with the rest of the band.

Grohl was the drummer for Nirvana until the band ended following Kurt Cobain’s death in 1994, and his own drumming informed Foo Fighters. “In the studio, the albums are very much Dave’s vision,” Hawkins explained last year. “A lot of the time, he does demos and you listen close to it and try and get some of your own licks in there … It’s not an easy gig, I won’t lie. But that’s not because he’s a jerk, because he’s not. It’s just hard to impress him. We see what the bigger picture is and we make it work.”

Hawkins survived a heroin overdose in August 2001 that left him in a coma for two weeks. “I just got out of control for a while,” he later said. “I took it too far. I’m glad it got knocked on the head at that point.”

Hawkins is survived by his wife, Alison, and their three children.

Contributors

Ben Beaumont-Thomas and Caitlin Cassidy

The GuardianTramp

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